Intimacy: A Closer Look

Intimacy is something most of us value greatly, and yet it is surprisingly hard to define. In this exploratory talk, I offer and evaluate different definitions of intimacy, focusing in particular on intimate interactions (as opposed to intimate relationships). It could be that such interactions involve people taking up particular attitudes, like love and care, towards one another. Alternatively, perhaps intimate interactions involve two selves blending (or at least seeming to blend) together. Or maybe they involve people making particular kinds of disclosure to one another. I argue, however, that intimate interactions are best thought of as involving the belief either that one is making contact with part of another person’s ‘true’ or ‘real’ self, or that one is sharing part of one’s own true self.